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IHS Holds National Kickoff Meeting for New Awardees in Behavioral Health

by Audrey Solimon, MPH, Health System Specialist and LCDR Sean K. Bennett, LCSW, USPHS, Public Health Advisor

On January 14-15, 2016, IHS held its national kickoff meeting for the new cohort of Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) and Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI) awardees. In late 2015, IHS made 118 MSPI funding awards totaling more than $13 million and 56 DVPI awards totaling more than $7 million. The in-person meeting, held in Denver, Colorado, addressed critical technical and programmatic issues to help set up for success these awardees and their projects.

Over 250 people attended, representing Tribal, federal, and Urban Indian programs across the country. Headquarters staff from the IHS Division of Behavioral Health, Division of Grants Management and Division of Planning, Evaluation and Research offered workshops on various topics. Sessions included:

  • Operating a Grant Program
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Methamphetamine Use Prevention
  • Community Assessment/Strategic Planning
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Prevention

In addition to these workshops, attendees also met with technical assistance providers from the National Indian Health Board Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , National Council of Urban Indian Health Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  and the various Urban Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  and Tribal Epidemiology Centers. These tailored sessions offered awardees the opportunity to access pertinent information and resources on data collection, planning and evaluation.

"We know that a lot of work remains to be done to comprehensively address the critical behavioral health issues across American Indian and Alaska Native communities," said Dr. Beverly Cotton, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. "With these awards, Tribes are able to promote culturally relevant programs that improve the effectiveness of prevention, intervention and treatment of substance use, suicide and domestic and sexual violence."

We and our IHS colleagues are excited to facilitate this new era of grants for the MSPI and DVPI programs. One thing that will help is that each participant received a resource kit of presentations and materials shared during the two-day meeting. We are sure to have many stories of success and accomplishment to highlight in the months to come.

Ms. Solimon serves as project officer for MSPI and DVPI awards and is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico. LCDR Sean K. Bennett is a United States Public Health Service Officer who serves as the lead for Zero Suicide at IHS and also supports IHS MSPI and DVPI.

Audrey Solimon, MPH, Health System Specialist and LCDR Sean K. Bennett, LCSW, USPHS, Public Health Advisor